Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yes Sir I'm A Soldier Boy…..

"All men dream; but not equally, those who dream in the night, in the dusty recess of their mind only wake up to find it in vanity, but those men who dream in the day are dangerous men for they can carry out their dreams with open eyes."

When Lawrence of Arabia penned the above line in his magnum opus "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" little did he contemplate that years to come men fitting that description would pass out from this prestigious college in a faraway land.

Royal Military College, the mere mention of the name is enough to set off a rush of emotion for those who studied there and its nemesis. A cradle for future leaders nestled in the lush mountain top of Sungai Besi garrison town, Kuala Lumpur. RMC is an institution like no other, under the purview of the Ministry of Defense, it strive to produce student with an iron discipline of a military officer coupled with an aptitude of a scholar.

The present day successors of the much dreaded ancient Spartans, boys as young as fourteen are trained on every aspect of military, ranging from drill to firing the standard infantry assault rifle, apart from the regular education syllabus found in secondary school.

This is the only college in the country which has the prefix "Royal" to its name, own regimental colours, golf team, Olympic size swimming pool, and above all pays you pocket money on monthly basis

The list of who's who in the public service, private sectors and military is a testament to the college and its charter "preparing young Malaysians to take places as Officers in the Malaysian Armed Forces, in the higher divisions of the public service and as leaders in the professional, commercial and industrial life of the country".

Entrance into this college is strictly based on merit, only those with straight A's in UPSR or PMR will be eligible for applying. Thereafter you will be called for a selection process, in which annually 5000 potential candidate throughout the country will battle it out for one week of interview and selection process. These include IQ test, medical examination, physical test and final board. Students will be vetted in stages, some would fail in IQ while others would fail in physical. The selected few will proceed to the final board, where the Board of Governors would determine which candidate has the right aptitude for RMC. At the end of the day out of 5000 potential candidates only 95-100 will make it to the college. The selection process is vital to ensure only those with the right mental and physical stamina enters in order to endure the punishing daily regime in RMC.

Founded in 1952 by Field Marshall Sir Gerald Templer, he envisaged RMC after the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. It is divided into 8 companies from A-H (named after the military alphabets like Alpha, Bravo and so on) each with its own distinctive flag and colour. Earlier when RMC was known as Federation Military College the company was divided into 4 companies named after famous battle fought by the British like Dettingen, Waterloo and Inkerman. Competition among company is ferocious in sports, academic and military studies. The company which fares in all aspect usually will be given the honor of wearing the yellow lanyard to set it apart from the rest.

A typical day in RMC will start at 5.30am and it's a chain of well choreographed schedule until lights off at 2230 hrs. There is an important rest period at 2.15pm-3.00pm where duty officers or seniors will ensure no feet are on the ground except on bed.

Saturday's are for military training beginning with the OC (Officer Commanding) Parade at 0715-0830. Thereafter Physical Training (PT), Battle PT, Battle Tactics, General Military Knowledge, Signals, Armament and Map Reading. Boys are allowed one overnight in the month and two outings. However they must be back to the guardroom by 1830hrs or their name would appear in the roaster board for extra drill the next day.

Following the passing out parade for the class of 2004, the Secretary General of Ministry of Defense who graced the occasion, made an announcement to reinstate the Form 4 intake. A lot of opinions were given about the shortcomings of commissioning Form 4 into RMC.

While everyone has the right to express their view owing to the civilized nature of our society, in my humble opinion it is the college which makes the students stand apart and not vice versa. Whether a boy has stayed in RMC for 1 year or 5 years it makes no difference. A year is enough to mould a young men into the kind of character that RMC looks for, those who do not fit into this category will not survive more than a year. Their individual instinct and biological capability will tell them its enough and its time to quit.

Once you wore the red hackle, yellow muffler, white gloves and carried the spear as the honor guard for your passing out seniors you are one of the few and a full fledged putera. We have old putera who have studied in RMC for a year yet is as illustrious as those who have been there for 5 years. Student may come with different mentality from outside school, but once inside and the shock treatment mooted by the seniors and drill instructors is enough to forget from where you came, but to accomplish the task of cooperation and oneness in RMC.

In RMC there are no individuals, it's the college and the company, one wrong move by anyone will ensure the wrath for your entire company. No one individuals made the RMC great, its great because its unique, owing to the dedicated academic staffs, military officers, drill sergeant, the gardeners who keep it trimmed and above all the old guards of the college the Old Putera Association, which will ensure its glory for years to come.

A tradition which every ex boy hold dear till date is the wearing of college tie every Wednesday. The tie of dark green background with thin yellow/red stripes representing the regimental colours of RMC. If you see a gentleman wearing it, do not be deceived by his immaculate mannerism for he is soldier first and whatever second. Rest assured you are safe in his presence for he will live up to the sacred words of "serve to lead" the motto of RMC.

I am one of the few privileged to be part of this proud tradition and I'm sure many generations to come boys will look up to this institution with veneration. Yes Sir, I'm A Soldier Boy…..indeed.

388522 OP Jeyaganesh Gopalsamy
Charlie Company
8th Royal Thoroughbreds (1987-1991) "The Rebellicans"

Royal
Military College

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